Europe Fintech

Mastercard Digital First Card Launched in Europe by Paynetics

Fintech payment service provider Paynetics AD, digital banking platforms provider phyre and Bulgarian telecoms provider VIVACOM earlier this week launched the Mastercard Digital First card. This will be the first payment card of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and one of the first Digital First cards in Europe. VIVACOM is the first telecom that has launched a Digital First card in the CEE region.

The service provides access to a virtual payment card in the digital Pay by VIVACOM wallet, as well as a physical card with all the functionalities of a contactless card but with greater security, better control and a clean minimalist design.

For the convenience and security of users, only the name of the cardholder is written on the physical card and no sensitive information is included. The unique 16-digit number (PAN) and the CVC code for online card payments are stored in the digital wallet only, and the cardholder alone has access to it by using their biometric data or passcode. This prevents the possibility of misuse – in the instance of loss or theft, the card cannot be used at an ATM or for online purchases, and the user can “lock” it with one click in the application.

This new product has been created to meet the changing needs of the modern consumer. Mastercard data confirms that with the growing digitalisation of the banking industry, people are looking for security now more than ever, citing it as one of the most important criteria for using digital banking services (69%). At the same time, 44% of consumers note the convenience and speed as a major factor in the use of these services. Nearly two-thirds (68%) believe that the demand for mobile financial solutions will increase in the future, as they make operations easy and convenient.

Ivo Gueorguiev, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Paynetics said: “Digital First cards represent the next generation of payment technology, and it’s in the hands of consumers right now. Apple
launched its own Digital First card last year and so here at Paynetics we have been at the forefront of bringing this technology to Europe. Our card, in partnership with phyre, Mastercard and VIVACOM, is the first of its kind in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region. In this instance, the service provides access to a virtual payment card in the digital Pay by VIVACOM wallet, as well as a physical card with all the functionalities of a contactless card but with greater security, better control and a clean, minimalist design.”

VIVACOM is an industry-leading communications services provider with more than 4 million customers and a network of 230 outlets throughout the country. From its foundation as Bulgaria’s first telecoms operator, the company has become one of the main providers of high-tech services that support a modern and dynamic economy. The company considers it of strategic importance to enter the fintech space and to be able to provide a full range of digital payment products to its customers.

Gueorguiev added, “Our technology has been integral to the development of Pay by VIVACOM, where our holistic approach to payments, with an end-to-end solution, was a natural fit with the need for a one stop solution. In addition, the Mastercard Digital Enablement Service (MDES) forms an important part of the system as it uses cutting edge payment security technologies – EMV standard, tokenization and cryptography – to ensure the integrity of the cardholder’s information. This Digital First Card is the next step in our mission to offer personalised services that reflect customers’ needs and to follow an out-of-the-box approach to developing and providing innovative technological solutions. And, although initially launched in Bulgaria, this service is paving the way for the evolution of digital payments across the whole of Europe, with more Digital First card initiatives to be launched in the coming months.

“We’re especially proud of this achievement as, once again, we’ve proven that with a lot of hard work and collaboration you can be a leader in the payments industry at both a European and world level, even if you are from a small country and a less developed market. It’s further testament to the fact that Bulgaria is fast becoming one of the most established fintech hubs in Europe, and for good reason. Bulgaria has an established technological heritage which stretches back decades. This, combined with the friendly, curious and tech-savvy population creates an optimum testing ground for innovative products. Bulgaria has the people, the skills, the drive and the expertise to be a player in the international fintech scene and Sofia is ready to give traditional leaders in the market, such as London or Paris, a run for their money as a leading hub for innovation.”


  • Gina is a fintech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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